Music docs got audiences at the Available Light Film Festival to their feet as the Whitehorse festival announced the winners today for the Made in the North Awards and Audience Awards. Doug and the Slugs and Me won the Audience Award for Best Canadian Documentary. Directed by Teresa Alfeld, the film is a fun portrait of the Canadian rock band Doug and the Slugs, and the filmmaker’s personal connection to the group’s late frontman Doug Bennett and his daughter, Alfeld’s childhood friend. The Tanya Tagaq doc Ever Deadly, meanwhile, scored a special mention for Best Canadian Feature Film. Directed by Tagaq and Chelsea McMullan, Ever Deadly is a concert doc hybrid that crosscuts Tagaq’s iconic throat singing with the lived experience that fuels it.
On the shorts front, the documentary Imalijirit, directed by Tim Anaviapik Soucie and Vincent L’Hèrault, won the award for Best Northern Short Film. The award carries a cash prize of $3,000. Imalijirit observes a young father in Pond Inlet, Nunavut as he continues his grandfather’s research studying water quality in the community.
Two docs tied for the Audience Award for Best International Film. Navalny, directed by Toronto native Daniel Roher, shared the honour with the offbeat environmental film Pleistocene Park, directed by Luke Griswold-Tergis. Roher’s Navalny is an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature and is gaining much attention from pundits who think who could upset presumed frontrunner Laura Poitras. Navalny and Pleistocene Park topped the overall list of audience favourites.
ALFF released the top 15 films among the Audience Award rankings. Other docs in the rankings included Whetu Marama – Bright Star, Framing Agnes, Eternal Spring, Voices Across the Water, Revival69, The Ballad of Caveman Bill, and The Empress of Vancouver.
The full list of 2023 Available Light Film Festival winners is as follows:
MADE IN THE NORTH AWARDS
Best Canadian Feature Film – Prize: $5,000
Winner: ROSIE, dir. Gail Maurice
Special Mention: Ever Deadly, dir. Chelsea McMullen and Tanya Tagaq
Best Canadian Short Film – Prize: $3,000
Winner: Scaring Women at Night, dir. Karimah Zakia Issa
Best Northern Short Film – Prize: $3,000
Winner: Imalijirit, dir. Tim Anaviapik Soucie and Vincent L’Hèrault
AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARDS
Best Canadian Documentary
Winner: Doug and the Slugs and Me, dir. Teresa Alfeld
Best Canadian Feature – Fiction
Winner: Bones of Crows, dir. Marie Clements
Best International Film
Winners (tie): Pleistocene Park, dir. Luke Griswold-Tergis & Navalny, dir. Daniel Roher
The TOP 15 ALFF AUDIENCE CHOICE films were:
- Navalny (tied)
- Pleistocene Park (tied)
- Bones of Crows
- Doug and the Slugs and Me
- Whetu Marama – Bright Star
- Framing Agnes
- Smoking Causes Coughing
- Eternal Spring
- Voices Across the Water
- The Ballad of Caveman Bill
- I Like Movies (tied)
- The Empress of Vancouver (tied)